The 2020 NBA Draft is less than a week away, and trade rumors are swirling around the Spurs like never before. First, there was the rumor of LaMarcus Aldridge being sent to the Warriors for the 2nd overall pick and a cap-filler player. While logic didn’t seem to support that idea at the time, it’s still out there (see below), so some credence must still be granted.
The latest big rumor comes from Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer in his Mock Draft. While predicting the Spurs would draft Seddiq Bey if they stuck with the 11th overall pick, here is what he had to say:
The Spurs are up to something. League sources say they’re shopping point guard Patty Mills, with teams such as the Bucks and Sixers expressing interest. A deal with Philadelphia would probably bring back Josh Richardson, league sources say. They’re also looking to unload LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan; I’ve heard the Lakers have interest in acquiring DeRozan (for Kyle Kuzma and Danny Green), and as mentioned, the Warriors may want Aldridge. Any separate trade could influence their choice here. But the Spurs love Bey, who has a floor as a 3-and-D-style wing but provides upside as a scorer off the dribble. Washington forward Jaden McDaniels and Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey have also been mentioned as targets for the Spurs.
There’s a lot to unwrap in this one paragraph beyond who all the Spurs are high on in the draft. It’s not too surprising to see Mills on the trading block (albeit a little heart-breaking, if accurate), but the reality is he’s one of their few assets who is worth his contract and would bring similar value back in return. Plus, he would have to continue to cede minutes as he did in the Bubble if the Spurs truly wish go all in on their deep stash of young guards. Also, as previously mentioned, more credence is given to the Aldridge-to-Warriors rumor here (which is also discussed more in the Golden State entry of O’Connor’s mock draft).
However, the big one is the Lakers reportedly being interested DeRozan, potentially for Kuzma and Green. It almost feels like the rare win-win trade. Although he had his most efficient season on offense and showed some previously unforeseen value in the Spurs system during the Bubble, DeRozan’s game still isn’t the greatest fit in San Antonio. Going to the Lakers would be a homecoming for the Compton native and present possibly his best chance yet of winning a championship via playing alongside LeBron James after years of hard-fought playoff battles in the East.
For the Spurs, it would be fitting to get Green back for the player he was traded for, and Kuzma — who saw his minutes and numbers dwindle last season after James joined the Lakers and took his starting role — would bring the Spurs some much needed depth, youth, and excitement at the forward positions. He still lacks the three-point touch that most teams look for in forwards today, but if anyone can help him develop one quickly, it’s the Spurs.
Of course, a few things would have to happen for this trade to work. One is DeRozan would need opt in to the final year of his contract with the Spurs, but that shouldn’t be an issue. The other is more parties — be it players or teams — would need to be involved in this trade considering the money doesn’t add up. DeRozan is set to make $27.8 million next season, while Green and Kuzma combine for just $16.6 million, and the aggregate salaries must be within $5 million of each other for trades to be executed. However, that’s for the higher-ups to figure out if this turns into serious talks.
What do you think of this trade scenario, Pounders? Is this an acceptable package (give or take) for DeRozan? Would you welcome Icy-Hot back with open arms, and would Kuzma have a potential future with the Spurs? Feel free to discuss in the comments below.